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Miss Calaveras 2003: Crystal Jennings

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Crystal Jennings was crowned Miss Calaveras Thursday night, edging out seven other young women as the Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee concluded its opening day on a cool but very pleasant evening.

Jennings attends Bret Harte High School and, for her talent, performed a gymnastics dance routine to Gloria Gaynor´s “I Will Survive.”

Jennings´ court includes first runner-up Sara Vanlieshout and second runner-up Maiyan Orvis. Two contestants tied for Miss Congeniality, Sara Vanlieshout and Amanda Menezes. Menezes also won the Directors´ Award.

Judges for this year´s event were Dean Butler, who portrayed Alonzo in “Little House on the Prairie;” his wife Katherine Cannon-Butler who played Donna´s mother on “Beverly Hills 90210,” Fox network executive and 1970 Calaveras High School graduate Darlene VanSant-Lieblich, actor-comedian Ken Tipton, and Toni Fancher from Amador County.

The eight contestants had a surprise for the audience this year, bringing back the swimsuit competition that was done away with in 2001.

Eliminating the swimsuit portion of the pageant is believed to have created more interest in the contest by young women who felt uncomfortable with that part of the stage show.

But when this year´s contestants were asked what type of sportswear they wanted to don, they opted for swimsuits.

“I was flabbergasted. I was absolutely stunned,” pageant director Kathy Mazzaferro laughed, saying that the last two pageants included participants who said they wouldn´t have joined if they had to wear swimsuits.

This year´s version was a bit different, though, with the women wearing swimsuits from various eras. Some donned the traditional one-piece suits and wore high heels. Others dressed in sarongs and sandals, and some wore modest two-piece suits. “We just thought it would be a fun thing to do,” Mazzaferro said.

Story By Craig Koscho and Mike Taylor – Calaveras Enterprise

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